14 Aug 2022

Man found hiding in attic after thrashing house in Offaly

Man found hiding in attic after thrashing house in Offaly

Man found hiding in attic after thrashing house in Offaly

A THREE-and-a-half-year jail sentence has been imposed on a man who thrashed his ex-partner's house and headbutted a garda in Birr.

Dean Hogan, 24, was only two weeks out of prison for breach of a safety order when he returned to the residence of Georgina Buckley at 34 Newbridge Street, Birr and committed the offences after drinking a bottle of whiskey.

Details of how gardai found Mr Hogan hiding in the attic on July 19, 2020 were given by Judge Keenan Johnson in a sentencing hearing at Tullamore Circuit Court last week.

Ms Buckley had left her house to visit her mother and it appeared that shortly before that there had been a discussion between the two of them which resulted in the accused becoming aggressive.

When he drank the whiskey he phoned and sent WhatsApp messages to the woman and threatened to damage the house.

“It appears that the accused true to his word proceeded to thrash the house by damaging the furniture and breaking it,” said Judge Johnson.

He damaged a fridge and freezer and broke internal doors, with the cost coming to €1,550 in all.

A tenant of a neighbouring property notified the lady who was managing Ms Buckley's house and when she arrived there with her husband they could see Mr Hogan through the letterbox wearing only socks and underwear.

The gardai were called and at first they could not find the accused until they located him in the attic and “eventually had to manhandle” him from there while he became “extremely aggressive”.

He was brought to the local garda station but was so intoxicated he was deemed unsuitable for interview and was detained overnight, during which time he continued to be aggressive.

In the morning when he was being brought to the doctor's room for his fingerprints to be taken he made a run for the door and tried to assault Garda Laurence O'Gorman.

He was restrained by Garda O'Gorman and Garda Michael Tracey but he headbutted the back of his head into the latter garda, injuring his mouth and nose.

In a victim impact statement, Ms Buckley said she was terrified of Mr Hogan who was “like a person possessed” when he got angry.

She said her children witnessed his outbursts and were adversely affected and everything had been going well in her house until “he came along and ruined it all”.

A victim impact statement from Garda Tracey indicated the officer found it very hard to sleep for a few weeks after the incident and he was nervous when dealing with prisoners and anxious for his own safety.

“It is quite clear that the accused was out of control on the night of the offending and also on the following morning,” said Judge Johnson.

“He is clearly an extremely dangerous person when intoxicated. The fact that he offended so soon after his release from prison is extremely concerning.”

Mr Hogan has been in custody since his arrest last July and a probation report and a forensic psychological report were prepared for him.

Judge Johnson said the level of violence used by him was extremely concerning and the messages he sent to Ms Buckley (a previous court hearing had been told he made about 75 calls and sent over 100 messages in one evening) were “very frightening and threatening”.

“It is a hugely aggravating factor that an accused would assault gardai acting in the course of their duties. In addition to this it is noted from both the forensic psychological report and the probation report that the accused continues to minimise the gravity of his offending behaviour.”

The psychologist noted his poor impulse control and that his temper was easily triggered.

He had a history of aggressive and violent behaviour and had an assault conviction from 2015 for which he received a five-year sentence with three years suspended.

He also had “numerous” public order convictions and had breached a barring order and a safety order.

Both the probation officer and the psychologist assessed him at very high risk of reoffending and he needed to address his addiction issues, his violent history, his poor work history, family breakdown and “underlying anger issues”.

He had a dependence on cannabis in particular and Ms Buckley had every right to feel terrified of him.

Letters of apology were furnished by Mr Hogan to both the gardai and Ms Buckley.

“While the court is prepared to accept that the accused regrets his actions it is not convinced that his remorse as such will prevent further offending. Accordingly the apology is to attract limited mitigation.”

His mother had paid for the damage to the house and Judge Johnson said it was clear she had tried to support him and encourage him on the road to rehabilitaton.

“This has to be a hopeful sign for the future.”

The man had not processed events from his childhood and Judge Johnson noted Mr Hogan's father had died by suicide when the accused was 15.

He said he had grave concerns for Ms Buckley and her children should the man be released from prison without having been treated for his addictions, mental health issues, anger management and antisocial behaviour.

The offences carried a maximum sentence of up to 10 years and the accused's offending ranked “at the upper end of the mid range”, attracting seven years and six months.

With mitigation, he reduced that to five, and “to foster and encourage the rehabilitation” of the accused, he suspended the final 18 months.

The suspension was conditional on him availing of all mental health services and addiction services in prison; entering a €500 peace bond for 10 years after his release; remaining under the supervision of the probation service for 18 months and engaging “meaningfully” in a long-term substance dependence residential programme after his release.He was also ordered to have no unsupervised access to Ms Buckley.

The sentence was backdated to when he went into custody on July 19 last year.

Judge Johnson urged Mr Hogan to engage positively with mental health and addiction services both while in prison and upon his release.

“If he does not do this, regrettably he is likely to spend the rest of his life in and out of jail and that is not a future I am sure that he wants for himself or indeed his children.”

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